Edward Garrod and the Coroner
Norfolk News, 17 May 1845 p.3.
THE YARMOUTH CATASTROPHE
From the Second and Third Editions of last week
Inquest on the boy James Seaman Buck.
The Coroner's Jury re-assembled on Thursday evening at eight o-clock, for the purpose of viewing this body, and receiving identification. The Jury having been impannelled, the Coroner said that he had a complaint to make against one of the reporters in giving his charge to the Jury. He referred to Mr. Garrod, the Reporter of the Bury Herald, who was impannelled on the Jury. (Why Reporters should be sworn on Juries, we are at a loss to say; but the two Yarmouth Reporters, Mr. Garrod and Mr. Davey, were on this and we are told are generally put on Coroner's Juries, where they attend as Reporters.) The Coroner complained that Mr. Garrod had murdered the grammar; and said his report would be a disgrace to a charity boy, and denounced it as a very bungling affair.
MR. GARROD said he feared the Coroner was labouring under some excitement, and thought the feeling was a very wrong one.
MR. FERRIER repeated the observations, and some very warm remarks were made by both parties.
MR. GARROD said if he had reported what Mr. Ferrier really said, he would have liked it still less.
MR. FERRIER (alluding to something which had passed in the Mayor's court, with reference to Mr. Garrod's reporting,) said he ought to have been kicked out the court.
MR. GARROD said the Coroner had better kick him out now; which the Coroner refused to do.
After some few other observations of the above character, the matter dropped, and the business proceeded.
Norfolk News, 24 May 1845 p.4.
THE LATE ACCIDENT AT YARMOUTH
To the Editor of the Norfolk News
SIR - In your last week's report in connection with the above melancholy event, you published certain remarks as having been addressed by the Coroner to me, in my capacity of Reporter. One portion, in particular, is very much misrepresented, and, as it affects my reputation of believed, I shall deem it a favour if you would insert the following explanation in your next number. The error arose in consequence of your Reporter not being present at the time the remarks were made; he depended on the truth upon rumour, or the memory of those who were present, and thus, (very unintentionally, I am sure,) caused expressions to be published, which had he heard the attack made upon me, never would have found their way into your journal. My contradiction I shall not base on memory, but the report supplied the Times by one of their own special reporters who was present, on a short-hand note taken immediately after the conversation by myself, and the testimony of the Jury. In the report the following passage occurs:-
"MR. FERRIER (alluding to something which had passed in the Mayor's court, with reference to Mr. Garrod's reporting,) said he ought to have been kicked out the court."
The above is quite a misapprehension of what occurred. The fact is this - the Coroner the day after the accident, was on the Bench at the Police Court, and seeing several reporters busily engaging in copying a partial list of the bodies dead and missing, he objected to their doing so, telling them they had no business with anything of the kind. At the adjourned inquest alluded to by the Norfolk News, I referred to this interference in the following words:- "The office of Coroner gives no impunity to insult any one. This conduct is in character with the obstacles thrown in the way of Reporters obtaining authentic information by you when on the Bench last Saturday, where you were called to order for interfering with the Reporters by the Bench generally, but especially by Mr. Marsh, Capt. Pearson, and Mr. Lonsdale." This is the remark which the above extracted passage is founded.
I wish to state most distinctly, that this observation from me was not made until I had received several very gratuitous insults from Mr. Ferrier, nor until I had urged him, but in vain, to proceed with the business which had called us together. I have spoken to the Jury (with few exceptions) and they are unanimous in expressing their indignation at the treatment received by me from the Coroner, whether he be viewed as a private gentleman or a public officer; the Foreman's expression was "I never saw any man behave worse that the Coroner, nor better under such insults, than Mr. Garrod."
I am extremely glad that the conduct of the Coroner towards me does not rest on my own representation of it, because in personal matters such statements are generally liable to the imputation of being coloured and exaggerated; a Times reporter, unknown alike to me and Mr. Ferrier until this inquiry, heard what passed and reported it in the usual routine and professional manner. He described the language used by the Coroner as "very gross," and in another part, "his (the Coroner's) manner was, to say the least of it, extremely eccentric." I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant
Great Yarmouth, May 22, 1845.
The Times, May 10, 1845; pg. 7
The Catastrophe At Yarmouth..
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.).
THE ADJOURNED INQUEST
The inquest, which, as I told you in my communication on Tuesday, had been adjourned sine die, re-assembled this evening at 8 o'clock, for the purpose of formally identifying the body which had been found since yesterday.
After a slight pause, the coroner, whose manner is, to say the least of it, extremely eccentric, turned himself towards Mr. Garrod, who is acting as a juryman, and is also reporter and correspondent for a local journal, and remarked in very gross terms upon the manner in which a former speech of his (the coroner's) had been reported.
After considerable vituperation on the part of the coroner,
Mr. Garrod said - I admit Mr. Coroner, that I did not upon that occasion report you verbatim; for, in consequence probably, of the excitement resulting from the recent melancholy event, your remarks were not as coherent as they might otherwise have been; in fact they were not English.
The Coroner said, he would bet any wager that a charity boy would have reported his speech better.
Mr. Garrod said, that the office of coroner gave him no impunity to insult a man.
The Coroner.- You shall smart for this, Sir; you shall remember it. I'll take care you don't come into my court anymore.
To this dignified threat no reply was made ...